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Sep 09, 2018


​An odd thing happened Friday, I went to the ATM to withdraw money, and I received the message that said, "Unauthorized Use." I thought maybe I put in the wrong pin, so I swiped and tried again. I received the same prompt! What could be going on?! 


I took the next logical step and called the card company. They explained that my card had a block on it and they were sending me a new card because my information was compromised at a Sonic restaurant. Huh? In my head, I realize it has been a while since I've even been to a restaurant. On Saturday, I received another letter from another bank card saying that I was going to be reissued a new card.  Wow! The situation was unusual because my friend had just told me earlier that week how her card was compromised at a Bojangles restaurant. What is going on with the fast food restaurants?! So, I wanted to make a post with some tips and what to look for so you won't become a victim.

  1. Use Cash Whenever Possible - This is the simplest and most fool-proof way not to become a victim of credit card fraud or mishandling. With this, restaurants can't even misuse your information. They never see it! It is also a great strategy to keep on track with your budget. I just started an all-cash rule for everything except bills, and I'm glad I did especially in light of all of this!
  2. Beware of Situations That Seem "Weird" - When my friend's card was compromised, she realized that it wasn't the typical fast food restaurant transaction. Usually, you give them your card, they swipe it and run the card as credit, so you don't have to put in the pin number. In this particular situation, they presented a pin pad out the window, at a drive-thru, for her to put in her pin. She didn't think that it was a big deal until she pulled off and noticed that they didn't give her her card back. She checked her bank account and noticed additional funds were missing. Never put in your pin number at a fast food restaurant!  Tell them you have to run it as credit.  But, this brings me to my next point.
  3. Keep an Eye on Your Account - This is imperative regardless of whether or not you use your card at a restaurant. You should be checking your account on a regular basis. I usually check mine daily to make sure I'm tracking all budget items, and nothing has come out that I didn't authorize. Based on your situation, you can decide on the best cadence for you. I highly recommend checking your account at least weekly. That way if fraudulent activity is present, you can catch it early!
  4. Don't Allow an Employee to Walk Away With Your Card - Keep your card in sight at all times! If the employee needs to walk away from the register for any reason, ask for your card back until they return. It doesn't take long for people to copy down your card information.

These are some simple ways to guard yourself against credit card misuse and fraud.  Unfortunately, there are some dishonest people in the world, but it's up to you to make sure you do all you can to guard yourself. I hope this post helps someone else so you too won't become a victim.

Update: Upon further research, the Sonic breach of information occurred last year, and the ill effects are still lingering. 

Have you had an issue at a fast food restaurant? I want to hear it.  Please leave your comments below.

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